Brits frown about getting their smile caught on camera


Modern vanity, the volume of social media pictures shared everyday and the pressure to keep up with the gleaming gnashers of celebrities’ means embarrassed Brits are getting camera shy when it comes to their teeth. A new study from Bupa reveals that over a quarter (28%) of us refuse to smile in pictures because we’re worried about our pearlies looking bad in photos or on social media, whilst 81% of us worry and fret about how our teeth look in photographs.

With 39 dental centres across the UK, providing affordable, high-quality dentistry in convenient locations close to where people work, Bupa has launched an ‘Art of Brushing’ campaign to celebrate National Smile Month and to remind Britons about the importance of cleaning their teeth properly and maintaining a healthy, daily dental routine.

And its new study highlights that we’re far from being a teeth-proud nation. 42% respondents confessed their teeth were the number one thing they would change about themselves, over a third (35%) admitted being embarrassed about the appearance of their gleamers and 63% said they wished their teeth were whiter and cleaner.

It seems sparkling celebrity teeth could be fuelling these feelings of dental inadequacy, as 53% of those polled said they feel pressured to have impeccable teeth because of those displayed by modern celebrities and public figures.

But the root cause of this anxiety about our teeth could be because Brits are not giving their gnashers and gums the proper TLC they need as 47% of respondents admitted they don’t know how to brush their teeth properly. And further dental confessions revealed that:

A misinformed 29% don’t even use toothpaste
50% don’t use mouthwash
68% don’t use floss
Whilst, an unhygienic 9% admitted to regularly sharing a toothbrush with someone else
The nation’s knowledge of where they should brush, and with what, also needs a refresh, as the results revealed 13% don’t polish behind their teeth, 41% don’t brush their tongue and 16% don’t clean their gums. Whilst a too-cool-to-brush one in five (20%) admitted they regularly use chewing gum as a substitute for brushing their teeth.

Commenting on the research, Dr Steve Preddy, Dental Clinical Director of Bupa Dental Services, said:

“Regular brushing and having a clean, healthy set of teeth is a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Yet worryingly, our research highlights how many people are ignoring the art of brushing their teeth properly. Modern, state-of-the-art electronic toothbrushes and interdental tools provide a wealth of different ways to clean. So there should be no excuse for not brushing for two minutes twice every day, and in conjunction with seeing a dentist regularly, we encourage people not to neglect their teeth and gums!”

The digital deluge in our lives is also adding to this dental healthcare decline. As 11% confessed to forgetting to brush because of checking work emails or their social media profiles and it slipped the mind of 13% because they were watching their favourite TV show or programme. The nation’s affection for a brew saw 9% admit they’d forgotten to clean their teeth because they were making a cup of tea or coffee.

Furthermore, despite dentists recommending that we should brush twice each day for two minutes, when it comes to vital brushing time nearly half (48%) only brush for a maximum of one minute, only 11% brush for the recommended two minutes and a bristle shy 18% brush for 30 seconds or less each time they clean.

Bupa has 39 dental centres across the UK that provide affordable, high quality dentistry in convenient locations close to where people work, in comfortable and friendly environments. With a range of general dentistry and specialist treatment available across its dental centres, you can find everything from routine dental check-ups and dental hygiene treatment, to gum treatments, fillings, crowns and cosmetic treatment For further information please visit:

Full press release on